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Toys ‘R’ Us Owner Tru Kids Names New Legal Chief, Reopens Stores

Nov. 13, 2020, 3:41 PM

Tru Kids Inc., owner of the iconic Toys “R” Us retail brand, has reunited with a former lawyer ahead of the holiday season.

Anand Shah, who spent nearly six years as an executive director and corporate counsel at Toys “R” Us prior to its bankruptcy filing in September 2017, has joined Tru Kids as general counsel and secretary. The privately held, Parsippany, N.J.-based company announced the move Nov. 11.

“I’m thrilled to return to the Toys ‘R’ Us family,” Shah said in a statement that also touted Tru Kids’ recruitment of chief business development officer Brian Maeda.

Tru Kids spokeswoman Jaime Cassavechia said Shah is replacing James Young, a former general counsel at Toys “R” Us who subsequently served as Tru Kids’ top in-house lawyer after it acquired the retailer’s assets out of bankruptcy in early 2019.

Shah also takes over Tru Kids’ corporate secretary role from former deputy general counsel Jason Barr, Cassavechia said. She and Barr confirmed that he recently left Tru Kids to become general counsel at Ithaca Holdings LLC, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based holding company for entertainment entrepreneur Scooter Braun.

Young, who parted ways with Tru Kids earlier this year and is now general counsel at Saks Off Fifth, had worked at Toys “R” Us since 2007.

He became general counsel in 2017 after the company filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to close 180 stores, leading to the departure of former legal chief N. Cornell Boggs, who in July joined Quarles & Brady as a senior strategic adviser.

In 2019, Young took on the additional role of executive vice president for global licensing at Tru Kids, which assumed ownership of Geoffrey the Giraffe, the lovable former Toys “R” Us mascot.

The Toys “R” Us bankruptcy generated at least $56 million in legal fees for the company’s lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, which had also advised private equity firm Bain Capital LP on its $6.6 billion buyout of the toy, clothing, and baby product retailer in 2005. The debt from that deal contributed to Toys “R” Us’ eventual insolvency.

Tru Kids said Shah was responsible for global corporate governance, negotiating and implementing strategic partnerships, and advising on financing activities and licensing transactions during his time at Toys “R” Us between 2012 and 2017.

He joins Tru Kids after spending three years as an assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at Ferrero SpA, an Italian confectionery company that owns the Nutella brand. Shah served as Ferrero’s U.S. data privacy officer and handled a variety of legal duties for its North American operations, including acquisitions, e-commerce, finance, litigation, manufacturing, and retail supply chain matters.

Shah, who started his career as an associate at now-defunct Thelen and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, said in a statement he’s looking forward to working with Maeda and Tru Kids CEO Richard Barry to “protect the excellence and integrity of our brands as we position the company for a new chapter of growth.”

Tru Kids has gradually reopened some brick-and-mortar Toys “R” Us stores, unveiling its first new locations last year at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J., and the Galleria mall in Houston.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com